Experimenting with Wood Burning

By Kate Riley July 30, 2015

Sometimes I get the itch to do something crafty with a tool I’ve never used before. I’ve passed by the wood burning tools at the craft store many times but on a recent visit to Michaels the idea called out to me and so I thought I’d give it a go and try my hand at wood burning.

wood burning tool crafts

It was mostly what I expected, in a $30 kit there is a little hand held tool that you plug in and it comes with tips that you can use to form different shapes or patterns.

woodburning tool

I played with a couple of the tips on a practice piece of cheap pine to start. (Use needle nose pliers to switch them out, they get hot!)

try out tools

My first attempt was burning little jagged lines on a small box, with some repetition (and a few minor mistakes) I got the hang of it.

You have to accept imperfection with a tool like this especially as a novice! The smell of the burning wood reminded me of a cross between a campfire and burnt popcorn. If you don’t object to those smells, you may like playing with this tool too.

slanted tip

This simple but pretty little box I’ll use to collect spare coins in the laundry room.

wood burned coin box


coin box with wood burning tool


My next attempt was making little herb markers with wooden spoons, a cute idea at first but I’m feeling “meh” about the result.

herb spoons

Trying to burn letters proved more challenging than I thought.

herb label spoons

And on reflection I wondered what’s the point of making plant labels when hello I know the three types of herbs that are growing in my kitchen window. I wouldn’t stick “My Name Is…” labels on my kids so I had to ask myself “Kate why are you marking your herbs? Are you afraid you’ll get confused?”

basil thyme


basil sage thyme markers

Moving on.

I do like how the wood cutting board turned out, I had an extra bamboo board that I played with, and in the kit was a tip that turned out to be a perfect little leaf shape.

leaf burn


wood burned cutting board with leaf pattern


crafting with wood burning tool

It was a fun toy to play with, a bit frustrating at first when you can’t get it to do exactly what you want, but if you practice and accept imperfection it can lead to something good. Have you tried wood burning for yourself yet?


  1. This looks like fun! But, it’s hard to tell from a couple of the pictures, if the result is all the same burnt-wood color or if there is color variation. If so, how is that achieved?

    • Yes the longer you hold the tool to the wood Marianne the deeper the color so if you want precision you have to be consistent :)

  2. I’ve used this same exact tool to personalize a hammer for Father’s Day. It was frustrating and took some getting used to. Not sure if they make other styles of these tools but I finally figured out why it was so hard to use; The grip is at the center of the tool which makes it harder to write or draw with when you would normally hold a pen/pencil more towards the tip. Your projects turned out really cute though! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kate, I use my woodburner and a metal ruler to cut grograin ribbon. No need to seal the edge!

    • Brilliant Melinda! I read on the box there were other materials to use it on, I’ll remember that one!

  4. We bought our 8 year old a basic wood burning kit last Christmas (not a kid kit – a real one from the hardware store). He has a bin full of wood to practice on with our supervision. It’s been a lot of fun. We find writing letters very hard.

  5. I love how the cutting board turned out! There’s a gorgeous wood burned sign at a local farmers market with a long paragraph explaining the story behind the farm. The lettering is flawless. It must take a lot of practice and patience to get to that point!

  6. Ha! I’ve also thought about doing the cutesy thing of having plant labels but, honestly, do I need a reminder of which ones are the tomatoes??

    Especially fond of the tribal-looking change box.

  7. I made gifts for our grandmothers with their nana name burnt on wooden spoons. I used a metal stamp kit to indent the names first then traced over it with the wood burning tip. So much easier.

  8. I used this tool to burn a small heart with our initials into a lodge pole beam in the center of the room of the dream house we built. Cheesy, I know, but we love it and it is staying with the house for all eternity!

  9. This looks so fun and cool! I can see the frustration and I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I can see myself getting a little frustrated! Haha. Great job on the cutting board it looks fantastic!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  10. Hmmmm!! I’ve been wanting to try this tool for some time now but it seems so intimidating. You make it looks so easy and fun. I already have ideas in mind for personalized Christmas gifts. Thank you for persuading me to try something new!

  11. This is impressive but a bit intimidating! You’re much braver than I! I like the box for change the best — it looks like something you might grab at a neighborhood shop!

  12. I love how all three of these turned out. It adds so much character to each piece. I am laughing about the herb markers though! : ) Even though most of us would be fine in identifying the herbs, they do add some fun!

  13. I love wood burning! I’ve did my light switch covers in country theme’s, I’ve did tops for baskets in outdoor theme’s and I’ve made art for my walls for the last 30-years. I use oil paint pencils and then use a coat of sealer. It is fun and you’ll find yourself wood burning everything. :)

  14. OMG your endless creativity astounds me! I like the coin box, very cute. And I loved your commentary on the herb spoons, haha! x Maria

  15. Beautiful!!! I never bought one because my boyfriend has a similar tool for like welding wires together (or something, idk) and I tried it on wood and it was SO HARD. But you make this look and sound effortless, so I need to buckle down and buy that tool!

  16. I have a tool that I picked up at a yard sale…where else and I also have some pieces that others had made when this was a popular craft. I think back in the day, when we weren’t so plugged in for our fun and entertainment, this was a simple craft. One of the pieces is an oval of a woman which looks like a Mucha poster, very Art Nouveau (spelling? Too lazy to spellcheck, sorry!)
    I think, like many crafts, there is a learning curve to accept. Thanks for the report, you might have awakened my curiosity to try this. Like reading how other readers have used this tool.

  17. My late SIL was very good at wood-burning. She was quite an artist, and often combined painting techniques with her wood-burning.

  18. Before I read your post, word burning always reminded me of the ugly, tacky crafts I’d see at antique shops from time-to-time. Those wood burning designs were usually chunky and not very pretty.

    You’ve inspired me! The next time I’m at Michaels, with a 40% off coupon, I think I’ll pick up one of these kits.

  19. Too funny! I’ve got a wood burning kit sitting on my shelf to try too…just because I get an itch to try new things. Also, got a quilling kit and a couple of others. Not sure if it’s curiosity or hoarding :) But oh isn’t it fun to try.

  20. This looks amazing for a first try! The cutting board is my favorite, since cutting boards are something I use every day and I love making the every day things beautiful.

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